2015 Call for Participation

Hello once again, fellow game design explorers! The time has come to open submissions for the 2015 GDC Experimental Gameplay session!

This year’s submission deadline will be January 10, 2015 at midnight Pacific Standard Time. 

Just in case you are new to the process (or need a refresher) the CFP below lists what kinds of games and prototypes we’re looking for. You can also check out the workshop’s background and influence, as check the history to see what kinds of games we’ve shown in the past.

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What is Experimental Gameplay?

Experimental games take interesting approaches to interactivity that haven’t been tried before. Since this definition is unavoidably vague, here are some examples to clarify.

This IS Experimental Gameplay:

  • Creating unexpected play experiences or promoting unique feelings within players through mechanics (Gravitation, Passage, The Marraige).
  • Generative games, where the gameplay or world changes based on choices the player makes (Spelunky, flOw).
  • Emergent gameplay, where the game systems interact to provide suprising situations (ROM CHECK FAIL, Portal).
  • Interactive storytelling, where the plot or dialog changes in a fine-grained manner, as opposed to discrete “branching points” (Facade).
  • Innovative user interfaces – natural language processing, image recognition, gestural control, new hardware devices (Guitar Hero, RENGA)
  • Novel multiplayer interactions (Journey)

This is NOT Experimental Gameplay:

  • Novel content, narrative, settings, character designs, artwork, audio or plots – unless they affect the core gameplay in a major way.
  • New hybrids of already-existing genres – unless the resulting gameplay is unexpectedly more than the sum of its parts.
  • Purely technical innovation, experimental business models or distribution mechanisms, or games for under-served audiences – unless the game itself is experimental as outlined above.

What kinds of prototypes are accepted?

Only playable prototypes are accepted.  They can be in any stage of development, so long as the experimental part of the gameplay is playable. The submission doesn’t need to be fun, but the experimental idea behind it has to be interesting and clear.

This is because we favor the process of experimentation over the success of results.  We look for work that demonstrates a deep exploration, as opposed to the shallow implementation of an interesting idea. Note: More than one prototype can be submitted by the same person – and we encourage this when a body of work  reflects a series of related or ongoing experiments.

How do I submit?

To submit your experimental prototype for consideration, please fill out THIS FORM HERE. Of the 100+ submissions we get each year, we typically accept 15-20 prototypes. These are shown at our session on the Friday of GDC (from 2-4), and speakers who can attend to demo in person will receive a free pass to the conference.

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If you have questions about your submission or need clarification about the process, please email us here. We look forward to hearing from you – and hope to see you at GDC!

EGW 2014 – Another Success!

Thanks to all the amazing developers who participated in this year’s EGW – we had a stellar session with amazingly high marks, and many wonderful games!!! Check out this lovely writeup which lists the games and links to them as well!

We’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who submitted and participated, and offer our congrats to those who also picked up noms and awards at this year’s IGF!

Finally – a huge shout-out goes to the great AV staff at GDC who worked pretty tirelessly with the devs and organizers to make sure we had all the tech we needed to bring you these amazing games. We look forward to seeing you all at next year’s session!

EGW: 2014 Call for Participation

We are now open for submissions to the 2014 workshop!

Just in case you are new to the process (or need a refresher) the CFP below lists what kinds of games and prototypes we’re looking for. You can also check out the workshop’s background and influence, as check the history to see what kinds of games we’ve shown in the past. The deadline will be Saturday February 1st, 2014 at midnight. Good luck!

What is Experimental Gameplay?

Experimental games take interesting approaches to interactivity that haven’t been tried before. Since this definition is unavoidably vague, here are some examples to clarify.

This IS Experimental Gameplay:

  • Creating unexpected play experiences or promoting unique feelings within players through mechanics (Gravitation, Passage, The Marraige).
  • Generative games, where the gameplay or world changes based on choices the player makes (Spelunky, flOw).
  • Emergent gameplay, where the game systems interact to provide suprising situations (ROM CHECK FAIL, Portal).
  • Interactive storytelling, where the plot or dialog changes in a fine-grained manner, as opposed to discrete “branching points” (Facade).
  • Innovative user interfaces – natural language processing, image recognition, gestural control, new hardware devices (Guitar Hero, RENGA)
  • Novel multiplayer interactions (Journey)

This is NOT Experimental Gameplay:

  • Novel content, narrative, settings, character designs, artwork, audio or plots – unless they affect the core gameplay in a major way.
  • New hybrids of already-existing genres – unless the resulting gameplay is unexpectedly more than the sum of its parts.
  • Purely technical innovation, experimental business models or distribution mechanisms, or games for under-served audiences – unless the game itself is experimental as outlined above.

What kinds of prototypes are accepted?

Only playable prototypes are accepted.  They can be in any stage of development, so long as the experimental part of the gameplay is playable. The submission doesn’t need to be fun, but the experimental idea behind it has to be interesting and clear.

This is because we favor the process of experimentation over the success of results.  We look for work that demonstrates a deep exploration, as opposed to the shallow implementation of an interesting idea. Note: More than one prototype can be submitted by the same person – and we encourage this when a body of work  reflects a series of related or ongoing experiments.

How do I submit?

To be considered, please send the following information about your prototype to experimentalgameplayworkshop@gmail.com by February 1, 2014

  • Name and brief description of the prototype (max 300 words)
  • What makes this game’s mechanics experimental?
    • What would you show of it in the 7 minute slot it would get during EGW?
    • Describe how you feel about the current results. Note: This item is critical, because we focus more on the experiment itself than success or failure.
  • After completing this information, please include the following:
    • A video showing how the gameplay works (if applicable). Note that we are interested in seeing how the game works, not on whether you make a good trailer. We won’t publish the video.
    • Link/location where the prototype can be downloaded or played.

That’s about the size of it! Do not hesitate to contact the workshop via the email address listed above if you have questions about your submission or need clarification about the process. We look forward to hearing from you – and hope to see you at GDC. The EGW session will be held in the afternoon on  Friday March 21st – so save the date!

2014 CFP Opens January 1, 2014

Hello game design explorers!

Just a quick note to let you know that we will begin accepting submissions for this year’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop session starting on January 1, 2014. Submissions will close on February 1, 2014 at midnight. We will post the official CFP on New Year’s Day – but you can refer to last year’s CFP in the meantime.

The session will be held on the Friday of GDC 2014 (March 21st) – from 2:30-4:30 pm. As always, we look forward to your submissions and to a packed and exciting session!

2013 Session now ONLINE!

Fantastic news! The GDC Vault has posted this year’s workshop online – so in addition to reading what other people had to say about it or gazing longingly at some fantastic snapshots from the session – you can watch it for free right here!

Here are the games you will see (not necessarily in this order):

This year’s session was packed – and we’re so glad that we can share it with you even if you didn’t make the presentation in person. We’ve already begun planning for next year and incorporating some of the amazing ideas/suggestions about future versions of EGW we have already received in light of this year’s “challenge”. We will announce plans for next year (including an exciting new sister-session) as they become official.

In the mean time – keep on truckin. We look forward to seeing what 2014 has in store for game experimentation!!

2013 Session Announced!

The 2013 GDC session of Experimental Gameplay Workshop has officially been announced! We’ll be taking over room 2014 on Friday March 29th at 2:30 – 4:30! You can read a bit more about the session here on Gamasutra.

This year’s submission count was the highest ever – with over 130 submissions from a diverse number of countries, not to mention areas of creative exploration. As always, the session will focus on demonstrating the process by which experimental games are made – from initial inspirations to the process of prototyping, evaluating progress, and in some case walking away to start fresh.

We have a fantastic lineup of presenters this year that range from talented veteran designers to bright new independents. They will be showing digital prototypes that focus on sound and physics, new approaches to multiplayer and exploration mechanics, storytelling and narrative AI.

We’re especially excited to demonstrate a set of physical/digital hybrids built to explore how our bodies & brains engage with systems via unique play pieces, hardware and controllers – some of which will be playable after the session ends. We hope it provides a nice wrap-up to the conference, and sends you off into the sunset with a head full of crazy new ideas.

Mark your calendars – we’ll see you there!

EGW: 2013 Call for Participation

We are now open for submissions to the 2013 workshop!

Just in case you are new to the process (or need a refresher) the CFP below lists what kinds of games and prototypes we’re looking for. You can also check out the workshop’s background and influence, as check the history to see what kinds of games we’ve shown in the past. The deadline will be Monday February 4th, 2013 at midnight. Good luck!

What is Experimental Gameplay?

Experimental games take interesting approaches to interactivity that haven’t been tried before. Since this definition is unavoidably vague, here are some examples to clarify.

This IS Experimental Gameplay:

  • Creating unexpected play experiences or promoting unique feelings within players through mechanics (Gravitation, Passage, The Marraige).
  • Generative games, where the gameplay or world changes based on choices the player makes (Spelunky, flOw).
  • Emergent gameplay, where the game systems interact to provide suprising situations (ROM CHECK FAIL, Portal).
  • Interactive storytelling, where the plot or dialog changes in a fine-grained manner, as opposed to discrete “branching points” (Facade).
  • Innovative user interfaces – natural language processing, image recognition, gestural control, new hardware devices (Guitar Hero, RENGA)
  • Novel multiplayer interactions (Journey)

This is NOT Experimental Gameplay:

  • Novel content, narrative, settings, character designs, artwork, audio or plots – unless they affect the core gameplay in a major way.
  • New hybrids of already-existing genres – unless the resulting gameplay is unexpectedly more than the sum of its parts.
  • Purely technical innovation, experimental business models or distribution mechanisms, or games for under-served audiences – unless the game itself is experimental as outlined above.

What kinds of prototypes are accepted?

Only playable prototypes are accepted.  They can be in any stage of development, so long as the experimental part of the gameplay is playable. The submission doesn’t need to be fun, but the experimental idea behind it has to be interesting and clear.

This is because we favor the process of experimentation over the success of results.  We look for work that demonstrates a deep exploration, as opposed to the shallow implementation of an interesting idea. Note: More than one prototype can be submitted by the same person – and we encourage this when a body of work  reflects a series of related or ongoing experiments.

How do I submit?

To be considered, please send the following information about your prototype to experimentalgameplayworkshop@gmail.com by February 4, 2013

  • Name and brief description of the prototype (max 300 words)
  • What makes this submission experimental?
    • Describe the initial idea/inspiration for this experiment
    • Explain the experiments you did before arriving at the current submission
    • Examine how you feel about the current results.  Note: This item is critical, because we focus more on the experimental process than finished results
  • After completing this information, please include the following:
    • 2-5 screenshots
    • Link/location where the prototype can be downloaded or played.

That’s about the size of it! Do not hesitate to contact the workshop via the email address listed above if you have questions about your submission or need clarification about the process. We look forward to hearing from you – and hope to see you at GDC. The EGW session will be held in the afternoon on  Friday March 29th – so save the date!

Posted in cfp

EGW 2013

Hey everyone!

As you may have noticed – the EGW site had a long-overdue update! Thanks to everyone who wrote during the interim and expressed interest in submitting a prototype for consideration this year.

We’re planning to announce the CFP for EGW 2013 on November 1st. But for those of you who are thinking ahead (early bird, and all that) this year’s submission deadline will be Monday, February 4th.

Our two-hour GDC session will take place in the afternoon on Friday, March 29th. We are really looking forward to seeing you there and sharing some great games with you!

GDC 2012: Hardware-tastic!

This year’s write-up must start with a tremendous thank-you to the amazing audio/visual staff at GDC 2012.

Because we had so many different types of games being demonstrated, and several were focused on alternative audio/visual mechanics, We had *several* evening sessions in the conference hall, setting up and testing the various games.    We simply could not have done it without your help.

The tireless folks over at Gamasutra wrote up a nice piece comparing us to a high fashion show (nice!!) and listing the prototypes in all their glory. My favorite photo from the event is definitely this shot of all of us on stage together – what a sight! Not sure that we can commit another insanity like the show that was our 2012 lineup – but you never know, do you?

See you in 2013!

IndieCade 2011

This year’s  IndieCade Festival of Independent Games featured a special Experimental Gameplay session.

Our annual GDC session typically focuses on rapid-fire demonstrations of digital games. In contrast, the IndieCade session is designed to give creators an opportunity for a more involved discussion about the processes and inspiration behind experimental work. This particular gathering brought together several experimental duos, to discuss their work and how it is influenced by the act of collaboration.

Eric Zimmerman and Nathalie Pozzi talked about their collaboration Starry Heavens, in the context of several projects they have been working on for festivals and museums. In addition, the panel discussed how  Nathalie’s background in architecture both compliments and challenges Eric’s sense of game design & design process.

Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn who comprise Tale of Tales (participating in the session over Skype) introduced their in-progress work CnCnTrC.  Because this experiment explores intellectual and physical intimacy, Auriea and Michael each created half of it individually, and then combined the parts later.

Heather Kelley and Damien DiFede explored their long-standing relationship as collaborators – first   as part of the Kokoromi collective, and later on Body Heat (now OhMiBod app) project that allows users to use an iPod touch to control the OMiBod vibrator.Heather reflected upon her experiences as a travelling designer, touching on more recent museum installations, as well as her work with DareDroid.  In closing, Damien was then joined by his most recent collaborator Matt Piersall, to demonstrate Noddables – their protoype of an iPad jam-session/DJ toy (now Cosmic DJ).

Overall, the session touched on several deep and meaningful themes related to collaboration – including authorship, communication, critique and the joy of mutual discovery. We look forward to further sessions exploring how the work of experimental game designers can be discussed/demonstrated in new ways.